December 19, 2013
Food for the Gods
Every Christmas, we make Food for the Gods. The sweet smell permeates the apartment and wafts out to the common hallway. They keep well without refrigeration, and we frequently send them out as gifts.
Many people will find it difficult to wait for them to cool, as the baked goodies come out of the oven. Friends who pass by while we’re baking will swipe some from a cooling batch and munch happily away. On their way out, they insist I still have to give them a full box of the goodies.
The recipe is easy though tedious. The dates need to be minced by hand, as a food processor will quickly turn them into mush. The walnuts also need to be chopped by hand to make sure you are able to get them cut into a uniform size. It will be unavoidable to chop some pieces into pieces that are too small, but using a knife keeps that to a minimum.
You also need to be careful about the mixing of the flour. Over mixing much will cause too much gluten to form and make them tough. This is why the walnuts and flour are mixed together last.
- 250 grams dates
- 100 grams walnuts
- 1 cup (140 grams) all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (225 grams) butter
- 2 cups (400 grams) white sugar
- 2 whole large eggs
- If you bought whole dates, remove the seeds. Pitted dates will already have the seeds removed. Mince dates. Measure out 250 grams dates. Set aside.
- Chop walnuts coarsely. Measure out 100 grams after you have chopped them. In a small bowl, mix walnuts together with flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- Prepare a 9”x12”x2” baking pan by lining it with baking paper or aluminum foil. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF or 180ºC.
- Melt butter. Make sure the butter is warm not hot, or it will cook the eggs. Add sugar and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for one minutes. Stop the mixer.
- Add dates and mix on low speed for one minute. Stop the mixer.
- Spoon flour mixture over the date mixture. Mix by hand with a large spatula until flour has blended in. This takes about one minute.
- Pour mixture into prepared baking pan. Spread the mixture evenly over the pan.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until done. Test for doneness using a toothpick. The Food for the Gods is done when the toothpick is clean after removing it from the center of the tray. Use a fresh toothpick for every test.
- Cool Food for the Gods on a wire rack.
- When cool, remove Food for the Gods from baking pan. Peel off baking paper or aluminum foil. Slice into bars. Wrap bars in aluminum foil. Store in a cool, dry place.
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